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K9 Coordinator Explained why Dogs are Essential to Search and Rescue Missions

Miami-Dade Officials Search for 150 Missing People
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Posted at 11:28 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 23:28:34-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — K9 coordinator for the Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue, Marlene Crimmen, said the dogs searching for people in the collapsed building have special skills.

“Dogs can be trained to find individuals in wilderness areas, in collapsed bullying and structures and they can even find individuals that are under water and all of it is using their sense of scent,” Crimmen said.

Miami-Dade County officials say while they have found more than 100 people, they are still on the search for 150 others. Crimmen said in a situation like this, there is a lot of noise coming from the building, that is where a dog's strong sense of smell becomes more important.

“It’s really hard for the rescuers to discern what is noise from the building, the fire, the water and what is noise from the humans that could possibly still be alive in there,” Crimmen said.

Crimmen also said beyond a dog’s sense of smell, they have other useful skills.

“They’re very agile, they can go across surfaces and keep their balance really well, much better than humans, they’re smaller so can go in small spaces,” Crimmen said.

And Crimmen said for dogs, finding missing people is a game that they associate with positive reinforcement.

“Dogs don’t have the emotional component that humans do when they show up to a scene that is a tragedy with an enormous loss,” Crimmen said.

The American Red Cross said blood donations are in demand, as they are standing by for any needs that may arise. But they ask people not to send items like stuffed animals, blankets, clothing or household goods as they take time, money and resources to sort and clean.

The Red Cross also suggested preparing for emergencies in your own home. They have three steps on their website: get a first aid kit, make a plan, and make sure you are informed about the type of disasters that can happen where you live. More information can be found at redcross.org